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Aaron Paul NewFronts Future of TV

Hulu announces 33% growth in subscribers at upfront


By Natan Edelsburg, SVP

May 4, 2016 | 3 min read

Hulu held their upfront presentation this morning at NYC's Madison Square Garden Theater. CEO Mike Hopkins announced a 33% growth in subscribers (12 million). The day the James Franco original 11.22.63 launched they saw their biggest day ever in new subscribers who Hopkins said stuck around to watch other programming.

Broad City's Abbi Jacobson & Ilana Glazer hosted the event. Difficult People's Amy Poehler, Julie Klausner, Billy Eichner; Casual's Tommy Dewey, Michaela Watkins, Tara Lynne Barr; The Path's Aaron Paul, Michelle Monaghan, Hugh Dancy were among the talent in attendance.

Hulu's pitch to advertisers:

Eichner joked that they're not allowed to say the "N" word, "Netflix." While Hulu now offers an ad-free version, it's clear that their advertisers still matter a great deal.

EVP of Sales Peter Naylor discussed brand integrations with Goose Island for Casual as well Microsoft and Lexus for The Mindy Project. Mindy Kaling joked that, "I integrate... I will deliver a baby for a PBR."

Naylor also discussed "ad blocking, low viewability and fraud" and said that advertisers have the right to "transact on viewability." New partnerships with BrightLine and Nielsen strengthened their offering even deeper.

No mention of their ad-free version:

Not surprisingly, Hulu's ad-free version wasn't mentioned once during the presentation. Hulu also doesn't share what percentage of their subscribers are using the ad-free version launched in September.

The main reason this wasn't discussed is obvious - this was a pitch for advertisers so the ad-free version wasn't relevant. On the other hand as they ramp up with impressive brand integrations for their originals it might be worth pushing the ad-free version more.

Summary of the major announcements from Hulu:

  • By early 2017 they will start offering certain live TV channels
  • Launch of Hulu Documentary Films with the exclusive acquisition of The Beatles: Eight Days A Week from Director Ron Howard
  • Partnership with BrightLine that will make Hulu the first streaming service to deliver interactive advertising units built exclusively for the living room
  • New partnerships with Nielsen and Millward Brown to deliver first-to-market measurement tools
  • Season Renewals for Hulu Originals The Path and The Mindy Project
  • A new election special from Triumph, the Insult Comic Dog set to premiere later this year

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